Steps to Recovery – Solid Foundations
Not Rooted Religion – Based upon Grace, Faith, Hope & Trust
There are lots of drug rehab and addiction treatment centres around promoting programmes with foundations in the steps and traditions of the Twelve-step recovery programme, and whilst that’s exactly what they are, in many cases, unfortunately, that’s all they are.
The idea of the ‘therapeutic community’ is actually older that the 12 step recovery programme itself; d ating back to the 19th century the therapeutic community idea, known as ‘Synanon’, was originally a ‘moral treatment’ philosophy attempted in insane asylums.
The Synanon organization was founded by Charles E. “Chuck” Dederich in 1958, in Santa Monica, California, United States. By the early 1960s, Synanon became an alternative community, attracting vulnerable and needy people for an emphasis on living a self-examined life, as aided by group truth-telling sessions that came to be known as the “Synanon Game”.
Sadly, as is very common, Synanon ultimately became a cult like organisation known as ‘the Church of Synanon’ in the 1970s, and disbanded permanently in 1989 due to many alleged criminal activities, including attempted murder, and civil legal problems, including Federal tax-evasion problems with the Internal Revenue Service.
As Co-founders of Bethesda Addictions Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, Colin and Deanna Garnett recognized how easy it would be for them to replicate these fatal errors and took these unfortunate results into consideration in its original business plan of 2004 with George Santayan’s famous quote ringing in our ears; “If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.”
Modern day signs and symptoms of the Synanon syndrome are widespread throughout our industry and can be very well disguised behind fine sounding philosophies within mission statements. A sure fire sign of this syndrome is an evangelistic type of over-emphasis for ‘the need’ of the 12 Step Programme of Alcoholics Anonymous as the only route to recovery. Their theses promote how the 12 steps were ‘originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a method of recovery from alcoholism’. This is actually not true.
Not Rooted Religion
Based upon Grace, Faith, Hope & Trust
The Oxford Group was a Christian organization founded by American Christian missionary Dr. Frank Buchman. Buchman was an American Lutheran minister of Swiss descent who in 1908 had a conversion experience in a chapel in Keswick, England. The name “Oxford Group” originated in South Africa in 1929, as a result of a railway porter writing the name on the windows of those compartments reserved by a travelling team of Frank Buchman followers. They were from Oxford and in South Africa to promote the movement. The South African press picked up on the name and it stuck. The Oxford Group literature defines the group as not being a religion, for it had “no hierarchy, no temples, no endowments, its workers no salaries, no plans but God’s plan.” Alcoholics Anonymous is the fruit of the Oxford Group who supervised a small group of suffering alcoholics through the principles of its own way of life, based upon Four Absolutes:
Recognising that these spiritual principles were impossible for any one person to fully attain, they were proposed as guidelines to help determine whether a course of action was directed by God.
These principles were then adopted and adapted and became the foundation of all twelve-step recovery programs. As summarized by the American Psychological Association, the process involves the following:
- Admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion
- Recognizing an alternative higher power that can help to create strength
- Examining past behaviours with the help of a counsellor and sponsor
- Making gradual amends for these behaviours
- Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior
- Helping others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions
Evolution then produced The Twelve Step Recovery Programme:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The Twelve Traditions are the canvass upon which we approach the Twelve Steps, they provide guidelines for governance and have been developed through AA in order to help prevent aand/or resolve conflicts in the areas of publicity, religion and finances.
The Twelve Traditions are as follows.
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
- The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
- Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
- An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
- Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities
Twelve-step Recovery Programmes, Twelve-step Counsellors, and Twelve-step Treatment Centres can now be found in every town and every city across the world. Because of the success rate with authentic application of the Twelve-steps and Twelve-traditions is now proving so successful across a wide range of substance abuse and dependency problems, we can pin-point well over 200 self-help organizations, often known as fellowships with a worldwide membership of millions who rely upon these spiritual principles for recovery.
Narcotics Anonymous was later formed by addicts who did not, or would not, relate to the specifics of alcohol dependency and similar demographic preferences related to the addicts’ drug of choice has led to the creation of self-help groups such as Cocaine Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, Sex and Love Anonymous – and the list continues to grow.
Behavioral issues such as impulse control, compulsions towards gambling, food, sex, weight lifting, running, hoarding, debts and work are addressed in fellowships such as Gamblers Anonymous, Eating Disorders Anonymous, Sexual Compulsiveness Anonymous and Workaholics Anonymous.
Auxiliary groups such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are also evolving into community outreach organizations for friends and family members of suffering addicts. These groups are part of a response to the social need for treating addictions as a problem kept alive and even financed by the confused and naive family system.
Bethesda Addictions Treatment & Rehabilitation Programme is more that a Synanon. Our programme aims to see you get the help you need through clinically trained therapists and certified addiction specialists. Not only so, our facility provides family assistance in terms of Family Lectures on Family Education Days and offers Family Step Work assignments for family growth (on request).